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Introduction

Prince Among Slaves introduces three large thematic areas often omitted from popular portrayals of the slavery experience in Hollywood film and in history textbooks. One of these themes is the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Many people think of slavery as a system that is unique to the United States. In reality, slavery was a global system that operated in Africa, Asia, Europe, and in many parts of the Americas, several of which, such as Cuba and Brazil, have a far larger proportion of their population descended from slaves than America does.

The very existence of indigenous slavery in Africa made it easy for Atlantic slave ship captains to purchase human beings on the west coast of Africa. A booming slave trade grew up from the east coast of Africa to the Arab and Islamic world. "It is absolutely essential that the fuller context of the African past be better appreciated," asserts Dr. Michael Gomez (New York University), in order to dispel so many of the myths associated with the black experience in the United States and the rest of the Americas. Africans were not always slaves, nor did they lack cultural and socio-political institutions prior to the transatlantic slave trade." Explore the modules below to test your assumptions and learn more about the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on our world.

 

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